Friday, February 23, 2007

Laughing Stock Chardonnay 2004

Who made it: Laughing Stock Vineyards
What varietal(s): 95 % Chardonnay, 5 % Pinot Gris
Where: Naramata Bench (Okanagan Valley), BC
Why drink it: You like citrusy/buttery Chardonnays
Extra, Extra: $23, 13.5%, VQA, screw cap

This buttery Chardonnay is good, but I was expecting more thanks to the Laughing Stock hype and the price. It’s a pale golden colour, with floral, buttery, citrus (lemon), and faint earthy/vegetal (asparagus) aromas. It’s not overly fruity, with citrus being predominant, and a hint of peach, but it’s rich and creamy from Malolactic fermentation and it’s toasty from oak aging. It has a nice vanilla spice aftertaste. It’s not either the typical clean and crisp or the tropical chardonnay I’m used to, but it’s balanced and fairly easy to drink. This may grow on me. If you like citrusy/buttery Chardonnays, that are neither green apple crisp nor fully tropical with loads of peach and apricot flavours, then this may be the wine for you.

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Monday, February 05, 2007

Rich & Zinful – Ravenswood Lodi

Ravenswood Lodi Old Vine Zinfandel 2003

Who made it: Ravenswood, it's one of their County Series
What varietal(s): 84% Zinfandel, 14% Petite Sirah, 2% Mixed Blacks.
Where: Lodi appellation, California
Why drink it: Because it's very good.
Extra, Extra: $25; 14.5%; drink now or in 3 to 5+ years
Bonus: 2004 vintage also reviewed

Ah, Ravenswood, the "No wimpy wines" winemakers with the coolest three-raven logo, a good Website and great wines. What more could you want?

After decanting this wine for an hour, it was smooth and tasty. This medium-deep ruby wine has a nice aroma of cherry, dark berries, pepper and oak.

It’s dry with balanced tannins and acidity and a medium-full body. Bold fruit flavours (cherry, plum, raspberry, blackberry) hit the palate. There’s a slight candy-berry sweetness and plenty of peppery spice and hints of black licorice and toasty oak. Each sip lingers, making it truly enjoyable to sit back and relax with a bottle of this and some friends. Silky smooth and rich and flavourful, it’s great with food or without. It was tasty with spicy ginger beef.

A few months ago, I had the 2004 and found it just as nice. It was a bit earthier, with riper fruit, but it went down smooth with the same medium-long finish. It was full with luscious, concentrated fruit (raspberry, blackberry, blueberry) flavours. Definitely yummy!

I wish I had tried them side-by-side. Maybe another time.

Ravenswood has three tiers of wines. Their cheapest wines are from their Vintners Blend tier (which I love), the mid-range wines are from their County Series (this is one of many) and their top tier wines are their Vineyard Designates, which are the most pricey, but make for delicious treats.

Very good. The price isn’t bad either.

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